Attachment: Learning Theory

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  • Attachment: Learning Theory
    • Behavioural
      • all behaviour is learnt
      • born blank slates
      • learn through experiences
    • Classical Conditioning
      • Behavioural
        • all behaviour is learnt
        • born blank slates
        • learn through experiences
      • learning through association
      • UCS - UCR   NS - NR       UCS + NS - UCR            CS - CR
        • food = UCS pleasure in child = UCR person feeding child = NS      person feeding child then becomes CS and the pleasure of the child becomes CR
    • Operant conditioning
      • positive reinforcement
      • negative reinforcement
      • primary reinforcer
      • secondary reinforcer
      • Dollard and Miller (1950)
        • learning through reinforcement of behaviour
        • crying = automatic response of hunger
          • infant fed every time they cry, she learns that crying leads to food (rewarding). The infant will repeat this behaviour. Positive reinforcement
            • primary reinforcer in this case is food
        • primary reinforcer in this case is food
        • secondary reinforcer is the caregiver
          • infant fed every time they cry, she learns that crying leads to food (rewarding). The infant will repeat this behaviour. Positive reinforcement
          • infant learns that crying will maintain CG's attention & food supply
            • attachment behaviours such as separation distress are formed
      • Evaluation
        • Reductionist
          • basic processes
          • too simplistic to explain complex attachment behaviours
            • basic processes
        • Counter evidence
          • animal studies shown animals don't necessarily attach to those who feed it.
            • Lorenz's geese imprinted before fed- maintained attachments regardlessof who fed them
            • Harlow's monkey study showed monkeys preferred comfort monkey who gave no food.
        • Ignores other factors
          • ignores reciprocity,interactional synchrony & other factors associated with forming attachments
          • Ainsworth shows that the sensitivity of CG is important & quality of attachment is linked to developing reciprocity& interactional synchrony
          • if attachment was just about food- would be no need for complex interactions

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